Rain credited with raising water quality

THE heavy rainfall of recent years hasn’t been all bad news – it has helped flush out pollutants from one of the country’s most beautiful lakes.

An improvement in water quality in polluted Lough Lein, centrepiece of Killarney’s multi-million euro tourism industry, was welcomed yesterday.

Results of chemical monitoring of the lake show water quality to be currently at its best for the last 16 years, according to Kerry County Council.

Exceptionally heavy rainfall and two of the wettest summers on record may be the main reasons for the improvement, the council’s environmental services section reported.

The report also said there was a decline in transparency in the lake in December and January, reflecting a significant input of sediment due to increased rainfall and snow melt.

Last year the state of Lough Lein was highlighted to the European Court of Justice as an example of Ireland’s failure to comply with EU waste water directives.

At a hearing in Luxembourg the EU Commission criticised Ireland’s record on environmental protection, especially in relation to the handling of waste from septic tanks.

A case study before the court showed that 12% of polluting phosphorus entering Lough Lein came from domestic septic tanks.

The results of the latest report were disclosed at a meeting of Killarney area councillors. Mayor Michael Gleeson pointed to other factors contributing to the improvement, including REPS, farm management, forestry interests’ decision to stop spreading certain fertilisers and commitments by the Lough Lein Working Group and Kerry Co Council.


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